Toad in the hole batter mix

Who does the best toad in the hole batter mix?

toad-in-the-hole-batter-mixJames Martin has a recipe for toad in the hole batter mix, Jamie Oliver has a recipe too, Delia, Nigella and Mr. Nigel Slater they all have recipes and they’re all different.

There’s a few twists but the basic ingredients are flour, milk, eggs and a pinch of salt.

But in what ratios?  How much flour and how much milk? How many eggs? What’s the best one? What one am I going to like best? Good questions.

Here’s my toad in the hole batter mix line-up.

James Martin Jamie Oliver Sophie Grigson Nigella Lawson Nigel Slater Gordon Ramsey
Flour  225  115  220  250  125  150
Eggs  8  3  2  4  2  2
Milk  570  285  600  350  300  300
Serves  4 – 6  4  4 – 6  4 – 6  4  3 – 4

Jamie Oliver’s is half the amount of James Martin’s and still serves four people? Should I use 8 eggs? 2 eggs?

I don’t want to be mucking about with measuring jugs and weighing scales and I like easy numbers so I simplified things.

What’s my easiest starting point I asked myself? A half litre carton of milk – 500ml of milk I said! No need to measure that. Pick it off the supermarket shelf – done!

So what would all the recipes look like if they all used 500 mls of milk? Here’s what it looks like.

James Martin Jamie Oliver Sophie Grigson Nigella Lawson Nigel Slater Gordon Ramsey
Flour  198  202  184  358  209  250
Eggs  8  6  2  6  4  4
Milk  500  500  500  500  500  500
Serves  4 – 6  8  4 – 6  8 – 10  8  6 – 8

Still a pretty wide variation on the flour and egg front. But I averaged these out and got my easy-to-remember 5-5-8 middle-of-the-road toad in the hole mix:

Middle-of-the-road toad in the hole mix

500 ml milk  (a half litre carton)
5 eggs          (they come in a box of six so I might treat myself sometimes and use them all)
8 oz of flour ( I don’t mind mixing my grams and ounces if its easier to remember)
pinch of salt

and that would serve 6 people.

Start with this recipe and experiment to find your favourite toad in the hole batter mix. Keep the 500ml milk fixed and vary the flour and eggs until you find your sweet spot. Or take a short cut and try Felicity Cloake’s super toad in the hole mix straight off.

Felicity Cloake’s perfect toad in the hole batter mix

I recently found Felicity Cloake’s recipe for toad in the hole and it really does it for me. Especially the ale and mustard twist.

toad in the hole batter mix by Felicity Cloake

Felicity Cloake experimented and tested loads of different recipes on her testers to find her best toad in the hole batter mix.

She tested recipes from Jane Grigson, Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham, Delia Smith, Paul Galyer and NIgel Slater.

Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham’s recipe from their best-selling book The Prawn Cocktail Years uses 50/50 milk and sparkling water. Nigel Salter uses 50/50 milk and cold still water and Paul Galyer’s twist is a 50/50 milk and pale ale.

What Felicity found was the all-milk pudding was definitely richer, but also noticeably softer and doughier. Water gives a crisper result, and sparkling water an even lighter batter – but the flavour isn’t as good.

Using a mildly sparkling beer instead though means the batter is both light and tasty, and handily leaves you with most of a bottle to enjoy while the toad cooks. Always good in my book.

You can read her full article here. But here’s her best-of-the-test toad in the hole batter mix.


2–4 depending on appetite


  • 3tbsp beef dripping or lard
  • 6 sausages
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • 85ml whole milk
  • 85ml ale
  • 1tbsp wholegrain mustard

Felicity Cloake's perfect toad in the hole batter mix


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  2. Heat half the fat in a frying pan over a medium heat and brown the sausages on all sides (this is labour-intensive but worth it).
  3. Meanwhile put the eggs in a large bowl and beat, preferably with an electric hand whisk, until thick.
  4. Beat in the flour and milk alternately until smooth, then stir in the ale and mustard and leave to sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Put the remaining fat in a roasting tin (mine’s about 26cm x 21cm) and put in the oven to heat.
  6. Once the sausages are browned all over, and the batter has rested, take it out of the oven and put over a medium flame.
  7. Pour in the fat from the sausage pan, followed by the batter, which should sizzle as it hits the tin. Add the sausages and return to the oven.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes until well risen and golden, then serve immediately, preferably with good gravy and lots of peas.

THE TRICK: Like making Yorkshire pudding, get the fat in the roasting tin literally smoking hot before adding the batter.


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